Tooth-Whitening in a Nutshell

Oma Edoja

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Tooth Whitening – To Be or Not to Be?

Not satisfied with the color of your teeth? Do not despair. You can literally buy yourself a whiter smile! Though tooth whitening is not a dentally required procedure, it could greatly enhance your self-esteem and improve your appearance. There are several tooth whitening products and techniques currently available. Basically these can be divided into two groups:

(a) Dental Office Whitening involves a trip to your dentist. A mold of your teeth and gums is made, filled with peroxide, fitted onto your teeth and gums and left on for one to two hours. Three to four of such visits later and your pearly whites are officially whitened! A more advanced form of this technique is Laser Bleaching. Here concentrated peroxide gel is applied and activated by a special light, usually Argon. This speeds up the whitening process considerably, though it is more expensive.

(b) At-Home Whitening is much less expensive and more convenient than Dental Office Whitening but is not as effective. Brush-on gels, strips, or trays with bleaching gels are used. Their peroxide concentration is considerably lower than professional tooth whitening; hence they are not as effective. Also, over-the-counter at-home products may contain alcohol, abrasives or acids, all with unpleasant side effects.

Teeth whitening can lighten the color of your teeth several shades, depending on the method chosen. Its effects could last from six months to three years. However, these procedures only work on natural teeth, not dentures, crowns or veneers.

Care of whitened teeth includes twice-daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste, cutting down on sugary snacks and drinks, and those which stain the teeth (e. g. tea, red wine, and coffee). You should definitely consider stopping smoking. Also, a visit to your dentist at least once a year is a must. Side effects, though temporary, may include sensitivity to cold, gum discomfort, sore throat and white patches on the gum line. However, these usually clear up within days of completing the treatment.

Still want to buy a whiter smile? Why not head straight for your dentist’s office? She can assess your suitability right away. Your dream of whiter teeth could come true sooner than you think!

(c) Oma Edoja 2006

Oma Edoja is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics. She is available to write for you! Visit Oma's inspirational blog at You are welcome to contact Oma via her blog.


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